What Makes A Good Dog Food

As a followup to all my recent posts about kibble and the pet food industry, I thought it might be helpful to describe what I believe should be in a quality pet food.

1. All ingredients should be fit for human consumption, and should be handled in a manner that mirrors human food production. That means clean facilities and equipment, proper refrigeration and ingredient storage, and packaging and transport in a manner that preserves the product’s integrity.

2. The food is in a biologically appropriate physical form. For dogs, that is a high moisture, meaty form, not kibble.

3. The ingredients are what the dog needs to meet nutritional needs — not ingredients that can be processed so as to be digestible. For example, since the dog has no requirement for carbohydrates, the food does not contains carbohydrate sources such as grains or starches such as potatoes, peas, lentil, or other legumes. The proteins used should be of animal origin, not from plants. This is because the amino acids dogs require are found in greater quantities in meats. We are already seeing the problem of taurine deficiency in Golden Retrievers fed certain grain free diets, where as little as 25% of the protein may come from meat.

4. The food is fresh, and not laden with undue preservatives.

5. The label clearly indicates the ingredients, nutrient analysis, and feeding directions. It is free of market claims such as “real chicken”  (until there is synthetic chicken, it’s all real!). Ingredient splitting and other deceptive label techniques are not used.

There you have it. If such a product were on the market, I would buy it! Actually, I can think of some companies that are making such products. If you think your current food brand is one of them, I urge you to call them up. Ask if they meet the five criteria above. And if they don’t, look for another brand, or DIY options. Your best friend deserves the best you can provide.



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